A business professor once stated to his class that the definition of a consultant was “a person who rides down from the top of the hill after the battle is over and shoots all the wounded.”
Another definition that has circulated in the business community is, “A person who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is and then charges you for it.”
Although opinions and mindsets will vary, the truth and fact of the matter is that a good business consultant can and will add significant value to the overall operation and growth of a business!
A strange but true story and example of a value-added Business Consultant relates to a serious problem that existed at a nuclear power plant. Their trouble was detected in one of the reactor transmission lines, which was becoming very costly and creating a possible safety issue. A consultant was called in and after studying the problem for several days and meeting with numerous operations engineers, he provided a solution. On a diagram of the reactor and transmission lines in question, he drew a symbol for a strategically located special type of monitoring/relief valve. The device was obtained and installed as suggested by the consultant. Immediately the problem went away, cost savings were realized, and the safety threat was eliminated. Upon receiving the consultant’s $75,000 invoice for work performed, the Chief Engineer was shocked and questioned the consultant. The explanation was quick, factual and simple…$25,000 was for the specialty valve and the balance was for knowing where to locate it!
The reality and value of a GOOD Business Consultant is that they don’t get caught up in the “Forest for the Trees” mindset…they don’t bring any industry specific “paradigms” to the table. What they do bring, however, is an ability to listen, ask questions, think outside the box, analyze and provide value-added solutions to the desired growth direction of a business, its owners, and its employees.
The Business Consulting World has an array of consultants and consulting firms. Some are generalists, while others specialize in a given field. The vast majority of these consultants aspire to a “one-stop shopping” process, in that the process and methodology that they use, will work for any business. However, once again, the reality is that every business has its own personality…the personality of its owners, managers, employees, products and services offered, market or industry and equally important, their customers and clients. Without a good understanding of all these operational areas and how they affect the business, a consultant’s suggestions and advice is “wishful thinking” at best!
So with all that said, making the decision “to use or not to use” a business consultant rests on the shoulders of the owner of the business. A GOOD Business Consultant has “been there and done that” and their methodology and number one objective is helping you and your employees grow the business and be successful, by analyzing the past, dealing with the present and planning for the future!